The goal of the Wags n’ Whiskers Festival is to get as many pets adopted over the course of a day, and in that regard Saturday’s fest met expectations, with around 30 dogs and cats going to new homes. While that number may be lower than last year’s festival, there’s thankfully a lower number of animals needing adopting in the county, according to Isabelle Gullö, festival director and cofounder of C.A.R.E.4Paws, the nonprofit that works on reducing pet
“We love the view and the breeze and it’s a terrific venue,” said Ms. Gullö
about the second year at SBCC’s West Campus lawn, and its ninth year in
total. Previously, the festival was held at Goleta’s Girsh Park.
Many rescue shelters set up a stall at the event to hopefully get their dogs
and cats (and sometimes rabbits) into new homes, while other nonprofits
offer dog training, pet grooming, wildlife rescue information, vet services
and, of course, a selection of animal toys and merchandise.
Folks and their pets could also get a photo taken at the “Pupperazzi” booth.
And Little Star, a miniature therapy horse, along with Little Orphan Hammie,
a potbellied pig, made guest appearances during the day.
All pets adopted Saturday were already spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.
Many were microchipped, saving new owners many hundreds of dollars.
Stacy Silva and Santa Barbara County Animal Services were on hand to
promote volunteering at the shelter and various adoption services. They
brought 12 adoptable dogs to the fest.
“Our numbers have started to climb,” Ms. Silva said about, attributing that
to school starting, parents getting pets for kids who don’t have time to look
after them, and unfixed pets getting out into the neighborhood.
To combat that, October adoption rates are 50 percent off, and Wednesdays
feature $10 cat adoptions.
“This is the largest pet-related festival in Santa Barbara County that we
participate in,” Ms. Silva said. “And it’s grown over the years and keeps
getting better. It’s a chance for pet owners to discover resources they didn’t
That, she said, includes various shelters, and many low-cost spay and neuter
options. There are also resources for those on low or fixed incomes to help
with the cost of a pet, so people don’t have to give up a loved one purely for
The Humane Society’s Erica Jackson was hoping to get her dozen dogs
adopted, including dogs that came from Houston after Hurricane Harvey –
not because of neglectful owners, but because of flooded shelters.
Jill Anderson, of ShadowsFund, helps pit bulls and senior dogs, the most
vulnerable kinds out there. The nonprofit’s stall was popular because of the
numerous puppies available for kids to play with (and one of the few with a
shade structure on a hot day).
Over at the ResQcats stall, all five of their kittens were adopted by 1 p.m.,
which delighted founder Jeffyne Telson. The last kitten of the day brought
the nonprofit’s total number of adoptees at 2,800.
Marcie Kladnik is the foster mom for these cats, getting them socialized
before the festival. She said goodbye to the cats as they left with new
“You have to see (yourself) as a stepping stone,” Ms. Kladnik said. “After
every goodbye it leaves a space for another (kitten).”
The average cost per kitty, Ms. Telson said, was $400, but for owners it is
only $100. Ms. Telson thanked News-Press co-publisher Wendy P. McCaw for
helping out with a medical grant.
“It’s huge, and really helps us do what we do,” Ms. Telson said.
For the first time, the festival put on a Best in Show competition with a
fashion and talent portion, hosted by News-Press co-publisher Arthur Von
Wiesenberger. One of the winners was Lucy, a charming chihuahua in a pink